Low maternal education is associated with increased growth velocity in the first year of life and in early childhood: the ABCD study

Gerrit van den Berg, Manon van Eijsden, Francisca Galindo-Garre, Tanja Vrijkotte, Reinoud Gemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this study is first to examine the relation of maternal education and growth velocity during the first year of life and early childhood (1-5 years). The second objective is to determine the potential explanatory role of standardized birth weight, maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), and infant feeding practice in this relation. We used longitudinal growth data of 1,684 participants with Dutch ethnicity participating in a population-based cohort study (Amsterdam Born Children and their Development study). Growth velocity of weight and of weight-for-length were calculated by subtracting the weight and weight-for-length standard deviation scores (SDS), respectively of two time periods. In the first year of life, children with low-educated mothers had an increase in SDS of 0.26 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.08-0.45) for weight compared to children with high-educated mothers. In early childhood, children with low-educated mothers had a 0.27 SDS (95 % CI 0.11-0.42) increase for weight-for-length, compared to children with high-educated mothers. Using path analysis, these inequalities could partly be explained by maternal smoking, duration of breastfeeding, maternal age, and maternal BMI. Conclusion: Children with low-educated mothers had an increased weight gain during the first year of life and an increased weight-for-length gain in early childhood compared to children with high-educated mothers. Although underlying mechanisms were not completely clarified, an optimal duration of breastfeeding, cessation of maternal smoking, and reduction of maternal BMI seem to reduce these educational inequalities in early growth and possible adverse consequences of accelerated growth
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1457
JournalEuropean journal of pediatrics
Volume172
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this